Cheverus rallies to shock Scarborough in OT

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Cheverus’ field hockey team rushes to celebrate after junior Bella Booth (8) scored to beat Scarborough, 3-2, in overtime Thursday afternoon. The Stags handed the Red Storm their first loss of the season,

More photos below.

PORTLAND—Cheverus’ field hockey team was in desperate need of a victory Thursday afternoon at Shea Field.

But when the Stags fell behind visiting, undefeated Scarborough, 2-0, in the first half, a third straight setback appeared likely.

Cheverus wasn’t about to go quietly, however, and roared back to make history and make the already interesting Class A South standings even tighter.

After Red Storm senior Lauren Topchik twice scored on penalty corners to seemingly put her team in control at halftime, the Stags got a little life with 20:57 remaining, when freshman Lucia Pompeo scored.

Scarborough senior goalie Sam Carriero preserved that lead with a series of highlight reel saves, but with 1:47 left in regulation, Cheverus was rewarded for its tenacity, as junior Bella Booth set up classmate Sophia Pompeo to tie the score and send the game to overtime.

The Stags nearly won the contest in the first eight-minute, “sudden victory” session, but Carriero kept them off the board.

Then, just 51 seconds into the second and final extra session, Cheverus won it, as Booth scored on the doorstep and the hosts had a much-needed, memorable 3-2 victory.

The Stags ended a two-game skid, improved to 9-3, dropped the Red Storm to 11-1 and beat Scarborough in Portland for the first time in program history.

“They were awesome and we were good,” said Stags coach Sally Cloutier. “We were down 2-0 and we came back. I can’t give these girls enough credit. The girls wanted it really badly.”

Postseason comes early

October’s contest had a playoff feel as two of the region’s best squared off with much at stake.

Both teams have been dominant most of the autumn.

Scarborough opened by beating visiting South Portland, 3-1, then defeated host Falmouth (3-1), host Sanford (6-1), visiting Thornton Academy (5-0) and visiting Portland (5-2). After a 1-0 win at Westbrook, the Red Storm defeated visiting Marshwood in a playoff rematch (4-0), host Deering (8-0), visiting Noble (4-0), host Bonny Eagle (7-2) and visiting Windham (4-0).

Cheverus, meanwhile, started with wins at Kennebunk (1-0) and Biddeford (2-0) before falling just short at home against defending regional champion Massabesic, 3-2. The Stags then bounced back by handling visiting South Portland (6-1), edging host Gorham in overtime (1-0), downing visiting Falmouth (4-0), beating host Thornton Academy (3-1), visiting Sanford (7-4) and host Portland (4-0) before falling in overtime against Westbrook (3-2, in a game played at Fitzpatrick Stadium) and at Marshwood (2-0) in a playoff rematch.

Prior to Thursday, the teams had met 16 previous times, with Scarborough winning on 13 occasions, one game ending in a tie and twice Cheverus coming out on top in memorable fashion, upsetting the defending state champion Red Storm in the 2010 semifinals, then ending Scarborough’s 66-game regular season win streak two years ago.

Both of those wins came in Scarborough, however.

Last fall, the Red Storm came to Portland and blanked the Stags, 4-0.

This time around, on another fabulous early-October day (76-degrees at the start), Scarborough appeared destined to hand Cheverus another defeat, but the Stags rallied in thrilling fashion.

Cheverus came out with a lot of intensity and earned three straight penalty corners, but had nothing to show for it.

After Stags senior Caroline Ford left with a foot injury, the field tilted the other way and the Red Storm started to get good chances.

After senior Cat Taylor missed just wide, sophomore Carrie Timpson had a shot blocked in front, then had a bid saved by Cheverus senior goalie Kat Kane. 

Then, with 18:27 to go in the first half, off a corner, senior Rachel Paradis passed across the crease to Topchik, who rattled the cage for a 1-0 Scarborough lead.

After a Stags timeout, the Red Storm struck again with 11:26 on the clock. Off another corner, sophomore Hannah Dobecki fired a shot on goal which Topchik tipped past Kane to make it 2-0.

Late in the half, Cheverus nearly cut the deficit in half, but Lucia Pompeo missed just wide on a corner and after Sophia Pompeo deked Carriero, a Scarborough defender knocked the ball away to preserve the two-goal advantage.

In the first half, the Red Storm had a 13-9 shots advantage and took eight corners to the Stags’ five. Carriero made four saves, while Kane stopped one shot.

In the second half, Cheverus finally cashed in its opportunities and grasped victory from the jaws of apparent defeat.

Just 25 seconds into the second half, Lucia Pompeo raced into the circle, but Carriero came out to kick the ball away.

The next time Lucia Pompeo had the ball in close, Carriero made an even bigger statement, making a sensational save with her left pad with 24:08 to go.

At that point, it appeared the Stags weren’t going to ever break through, but after Kane denied Dobecki on a corner at one end, Cheverus transitioned to offense, senior Hannah Abbott sent a long pass ahead to Lucia Pompeo and after Pompeo got past the defense, she went one-on-one with Carriero and this time, fired the ball into the cage to cut the deficit to 2-1.

“Lucia’s goal gave us life and we needed it,” Sophia Pompeo said. “The energy was going in our direction and we capitalized.”

The Stags then pushed hard for the equalizer, which would be a long time in coming.

With 17:25 to play, off a penalty corner, Abbott fought her way close to the goal, but at the last second, Scarborough senior Lucy Malia knocked it away.

Malia then broke in, but Cheverus senior defensive standout Anna Smith broke up her rush.

“Anna Smith killed it out there,” Cloutier said. “She threw her body around when it counted.”

With 12:34 on the clock, Topchik almost made it a two-goal game again, but missed just wide on a penalty corner.

At the other end, a minute later, Sophia Pompeo’s pass to Lucia Pompeo resulted in a shot which Carriero denied.

Cloutier called timeout with 7:41 to play, hoping to inspire the tying tally, but it would take nearly six more minutes for it to result.

With 1:47 left, Booth got the ball to Sophia Pompeo, who eluded a defender, then somehow beat Carriero with a backhanded flip to make it a brand new game, 2-2.

“Bella sent it across and her pass was perfect,” Pompeo said. “I shot it reverse and it went in the corner. It felt awesome.”

Scarborough got one final chance on a penalty corner with 22 seconds to go in regulation, but Booth cleared the ball at the last second and it was on to overtime.

Cheverus nearly ended it just 24 seconds into the first OT, as Sophia Pompeo got past a defender, but before she could flick the ball into the goal, Carriero appeared from nowhere and made the save.

Carriero then denied Lucia Pompeo twice in a 21-second span.

Late in the first overtime, the Stags had a penalty corner, but Abbott’s shot was blocked and the game would go to a second extra session.

Where Cheverus finally completed its comeback.

The winning goal was a thing of passing beauty, as Sophia Pompeo worked the ball into the circle, gave it off to Lucia Pompeo and with Carriero contesting, the younger Pompeo fed the ball in front to Booth, who only had to tap it home with 7:09 to go and for the first time, the Stags beat Scarborough on their homefield, 3-2.

“We work so well off each other,” Booth said. “I was just right there. Sophia passed it to Lucia. Lucia pulled it around the goalie and I just tucked it in. It felt great. Scarborough is my hometown, so it felt really great. It’s the best feeling ever. It’s the most important win we’ve had all season.”

“We could feel it going into overtime,” Sophia Pompeo said. “It took us a little longer than we hoped for, but we finished. It was a group effort.”

“Overtime for us is a good thing because of our speed,” Cloutier added. “The girls have worked hard and they deserved it. They played as a team. It’s nice to beat Scarborough. They have a great team every year.”

Following the victory, the one theme Cheverus came back to was it ability to play with heart.

“We knew what we needed was heart,” Booth said. “I’m so proud of everyone and how we played and never gave up. We kept pushing forward. I was confident in us as a team. I knew we’d play it out to the very end. We do best when we have numbers and can get spread out.”

“Scarborough was undefeated and they’re always such good competition,” Sophia Pompeo said. “To beat them gives us the confidence we need. I’m so proud of every girl on this team because we busted our butts and won. We played like a team. We had a few off-games, but this brought everything back together. We talked about not putting our heads down and walking away after a goal. We fought through it and stayed positive. We had to fight and use our speed and finish our shots. We did it. Sally is such a great coach. Our fans were crazy. We had great energy. It was awesome.”

“It was just heart,” Cloutier added. “We had a bad day the other day and we learned our lesson as a team and we came together. We have a great group of kids with skill and it just worked. I’m so proud of them.”

Scarborough finished with a 23-18 shots advantage (Cheverus had a 10-5 edge in shots on cage) and got 10 saves from Carriero (Kane stopped five shots for the Stags).

“Sam is outstanding back there,” said Red Storm coach Kerry Mariello. “I’m glad she had an opportunity to show her stuff.”

The Red Storm also had 17 corners to the Stags’ seven, but after scoring on a couple early, the couldn’t produce a goal which likely would have salted away the victory.

“They packed it in and it was hard to get through,” Mariello said. “We took advantage of a few corners, but we didn’t execute on the others.”

Scarborough wasn’t overly devastated by the defeat, knowing it will live to fight another day.

“It was a great game and a great effort by Cheverus,” Mariello said. “They absolutely deserved it. They played every minute and we didn’t. They worked hard and they have great talent. Sally’s done a great job with them. They came in angry. We couldn’t quite match their intensity. We knew from the start how good they were. The Pompeos are so quick. Until you see it, you can’t understand it. We’ll make adjustments for the next time we see them which I’m pretty sure we will.”

Two left

Scarborough (now third in the Class A South Heal Point standings) has its regular season home finale against Kennebunk Saturday, then finishes up with a huge contest at Massabesic Wednesday, in a game that could determine the top seed in the region.

“We’ll take the loss now,” Mariello said. “The monkey is off our back. It shows the girls what we need to work on. I’m not happy about the loss, but we’ll move on. Where we end up really doesn’t matter. We’ll be excited to face whoever.”

Cheverus (now second in Class A South) goes to Deering Saturday (the game time has been changed to 9:30 a.m.) and closes the regular season at home versus Noble Wednesday.

“Our intensity needs to be up all game,” Booth said. “Our passing has gotten amazing from the beginning of the season. We have to keep that up.”

“We’d love to play at home in the playoffs, but we also love to play on turf,” Sophia Pompeo said. “No matter where we play, we’ll play our game.”

“We have a ton to tighten up,” Cloutier added. “We have to keep the energy and skill. We had breakdowns that we need to work on. We’ll get there.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Cheverus senior Anna Smith sends the ball up the field. Smith was her usual stellar self on defense.

Scarborough senior Carrie Timpson sends a shot on goal. 

Cheverus senior Hannah Abbott knocks the ball away from Scarborough senior Lucy Malia.

Cheverus senior Celia Migliaccio battles Scarborough senior Lauren Topchik for possession.

Scarborough senior Rachel Paradis fires a shot.

Scarborough senior Lauren Topchik (13) and sophomore Hannah Dobecki celebrate the Red Storm’s second goal.

Previous Scarborough-Cheverus meetings

2016
Scarborough 4 @ Cheverus 0

2015
Cheverus 2 @ Scarborough 1

2014
Scarborough 1 @ Cheverus 0

2013
@ Scarborough 1 Cheverus 1 (tie)

2012
Scarborough 4 @ Cheverus 0
Western A Final
@ Scarborough 3 Cheverus 0

2011
@ Scarborough 2 Cheverus 1

2010
@ Scarborough 6 Cheverus 1
Western A semifinals
Cheverus 2 @ Scarborough 1

2009
Scarborough 3 @ Cheverus 1
Western A Final
@ Scarborough 3 Cheverus 2

2008
@ Scarborough 1 Cheverus 0 (OT)

2007
Scarborough 2 @ Cheverus 0

2006
@ Scarborough 4 Cheverus 0

2005
Scarborough 3 @ Cheverus 2

2004
Scarborough 3 @ Cheverus 2

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.